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Kaufman’s quirky work wins

'Sunshine' shines on scribe

The third time was definitely the charm for Charlie Kaufman as Hollywood’s quirkiest writer won the original screenplay Oscar for Focus Features’ “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” based on a story by Kaufman, Michel Gondry and Pierre Bismuth.

Kaufman had been nommed two years ago in the adapted category for “Adaptation,” losing to Ronald Harwood for “The Pianist.” In 2000 he received a nod in the original category for “Being John Malkovich” and lost to Alan Ball for “American Beauty.”

“Eternal Sunshine,” directed by Gondry, was released nearly a year ago and grossed $34 million domestically. But critics and Academy voters have sparked to its originality in portraying the waking nightmare and contradictory emotions of a couple’s attempt to erase the pain of their romance.

In his acceptance speech, Kaufman elicited laughs by twice counting down the seconds allotted to him. “29 seconds, 27 seconds, that’s really intimidating; I’ll try to look somewhere else,” he said.

He singled out stars Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey, Gondry and producers Steve Golin and Anthony Bregman and then said, “I don’t want to take my time. I want to get off the stage. Thank you to my daughter Anna.”

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